Monday, December 27, 2010

Floating Slippers

We may have come to meet today
But we had been tied together
Many days ago till our toes
Parted to find another way.

The Longest Night

Silently I wait, like a guardian of the night
While you thread your words with others,
Not even as much as a glance at I
Who waits, like an empty vessel in the rain.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stop and Stare

Flowing like an agile river
The smooth side of rashness
Never say you know
For knowledge by nature
Is infinite

So swing back and forth
Back to then and run to now
For eternity is
                       Running out
                                         My friend.

All I can be

Visions of all I am
All I can be
All that I have chosen to be
Like a ripple in the sea
Limitations of me I have perceived
What it would be like to just Be.

All that is contained in me
I am unable to see.
To be, is the freedom I seek.

The waters that reach the shore
Yearn to go beyond
One push, and another and a third one
And it can see what lies beyond the horizon.

Forever, the valley of my dreams
Nurture and stay green
Grow ever more
Give and give some more.

Not My Own

I am not thinking what others have not
Thought before

I am not fighting what others have not
Fought before

The battle fought can be lost to death

But finally ends at the very beginning.


Silently talking
On mysterious lanes walking
Discovery begins


A leaf sneakily falling to the ground
A celebratory poetry of sound
Playful excellence blending
Into a crescendo, then melting.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

In Between

In a battle between the past and the future, who would win?
Between what will be and what has been?
Barter the past or erase it completely,
And dare to dream a future without it.

Wash your hands off what has been
And swim in the waters of what is to follow.
Cut the umbilical cord,
If you think it ensures no sorrow.

Cleverly impatient to see what happens next,
Disconnecting from the pages of the golden text.
But know this, what runs in your veins is yesterday, not tomorrow
It was created in the past,
The wealth which you conveniently borrow.


I clutched the left side of my chest,
Where my heart resides,
To stop it from breaking into pieces.
Time, has a way of holding back,
What you want to leave behind,
Until that very pain pleases.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Force Forever

Father holding daughter’s hand,
An interdependent feeling of growing together,
Tell me, Dad, should we walk or run?
You and I, a force forever.

The child in you,
Now here resides,
In the hole that is in me
And that keeps me alive.

We will grow wiser,
And you will remain,
The same old boy,
In the spaces of my young mind.

Let’s not stop and wait for the others,
We don’t run for them, but we travel together,
Hand-in-hand, heart-in-heart,
Brothers this moment , and friend in another.

We protect and preserve
The forces that bind us
A memory in a photograph
Because that’s all we have.

But we will act, not lose face or suffer,
Sing, dance and pray to be heard
Dad, take my hand, we’ll walk awhile longer
You and I, the force grows stronger.

Friday, December 3, 2010

In the Dead of Night

When hearing the dogs barking is the only sign that you are alive
You know you are doing something wrong
Or something so right.

When my thoughts die down
And my fingers can't find the nerve to type
You know you are a part of something so wrong
Or something so right.

When the chill of the winter
Feels warm inside
You know you are amidst the wrong
Or playing your cards right

When the night becomes a friend
And you become a stranger to yourself
Then it all seems so wrong
But it feels right

When you are in the space
That is undefined
Then what is wrong
And what is right?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Staging a coup

In this moments of complete lack of worry, I am now, not yesterday or tomorrow. Not a minute late nor a second early, in my little bubble of sorrow, or laughter I swim. Fully submerged in the wonderfulness of this coruscating brightness. There is nothing sweeter than the sweetness of this peace that I experience in the waters of now.

Blue is the colour, the touch of velvet and the sound is like the sudden black out of the senses. 

Amidst the Musings of Others

I sit in my verandah, close yet distant to the musings and happenings of the world and wonder, as I do most of the time about nothing in particular, I feel comfortably alone. While something within me makes me want to yell out and demand attention, another part of me takes in the fullness of this moment of solitude. I wonder how much I will be missed and whether the absence of my being leaves a void in this world of constantly moving diverse dynamism. Perhaps not. 

But does this self-indulgent side of me truly want to be missed? Yes, it's very nature is that: greed. I give into it easily. I pity my ability to feel sorry for myself.

And yet the sounds of this known street comfort me in that very strange and lovable way. Though alone at this moment, I am bound by the love of this street. Never totally free.

I wonder why I have nothing to say, yet so much to write. Is this a defect in my personality or a boon of a past life? Perhaps in the smoke an answer will emerge, magically. I think I forget how close I am to it. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Carrot and Stick

It is a choice
Or maybe the lack of one
That makes the truth bitter
And time stops for none

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Asunder, the mighty oak blunder

Words are my currency
So this poem is loaded
Read it carefully
Only if you can afford it.

Silently swallow
That lump in your throat
At the memory of that
Which only you know

Break the fall of the mighty oak
Wake up now and tell me what you really broke
Find the answer in the smoke
Of the broken mighty oak

Catch the ball of yarn
And spin yourself a fine song
The kind that would make you strong
What is right, prove it wrong

In your little cocoon
Build yourself a fake baboon
Revolve around the silver moon
Wear a medallion in the shape of a balloon

Burst that bubble
And watch in wonder
As the pieces fall asunder
Is there time for one last blunder?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

When all you want is freedom

I don't get a goodbye, neither should you
I will not be missed, nether would you
Forever I shall die
Forever I shall breathe life 
Into what becomes the life of you

Die, die once again and some more
And miss all that you once owned
In the sea we both go
And the waves recede

Never will I remember those kisses
Ever will I forget what he misses
In the sea of tomorrow
We shall both be

Tied to the floor of the ocean
Riding on the high of the love potion
Night will turn to sunlight
Fight it, if you must

Get ahead and drown forever
Into that sea or an open sewer
See what blinds your eyes to the reason
Behind the Truth of what is never to be seen

So own and own up good
And fight like you never would
Lose and gain that tropical mist of day
And find the sense and the logic

Find what you want
Fight for it
And come back again
Be alive for it

Signs are everywhere
See what you must
Dare. Dine with the One
Who lights your day
And night.

Love and life
Scream and shout
Fright, and run as fast as you like

Go over the sea of forever
Fly over it
And lie in the dungeon of darkness
Waiting for an answer

It won't come
Or maybe it will
You are blinded by the mystery
Of your own history

Night and day
Oceans and fray
Lights your way
Neither looks away

Stare into the sun
See what you've become
Tied and bound
Freedom is what you seek

Into the sea of darkness
Together we venture alone
To find which is known
And Unknown again
When all you want is freedom
In this shackled kingdom.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Haunted by choice

It still speaks, it's as restless as before. She told me it would stop but as usual she lied. She told me it would get better, but those were just hollow words, why am I surprised? Just like a film it plays in my mind. Not once, but over and over again. And unlike a film, this isn't two-hours long, the images carry me across a lifetime, mine and his. This is the worst movie ever.

But it's my only respite, my addiction. It's the only way to see his face and imagine his kiss. I see him so clearly in my mind's eye, a lifetime of habits I had unconsciously stored, all being played out as never before. His eyes, lashes with gook in the corners. His nose, and the rhino mark rising from its tip. His thin lips, his uneven stance, and a voice. His voice. Calling out my name. He says, "Natasha!" and I wonder if he calls me in rage or with affection. It could be either, the script is written by me. But he calls. And I hear his voice, only in my mind.

Realizing this, I awake in anger. In agony, I curse reality. Often I call out to him, hoping, praying, wishing for an answer. The only reply is anger.

His fingers I hold in mine,and I feel his stubby hands as I look at my own. Oh I remember! I remember everything. And my stomach turns in sweet agony.

I yearn. How I yearn.

Forever mine

It's late afternoon at the Central Park in the middle of the mad city and she sits there in a drunken stupor. Yes, people look at her in disgust, and then look away.

I stare into oblivion. I have drunk myself to this, in the hope that my restless mind would calm down and my quasi-youthful body would drop dead. But I have achieved neither.

My mind still takes me to places I'd rather not roam and show me images I'd rather blind myself to. I close my eyes. I have not ever seen him more clearly. I see him, in my mind's eye, clear as ever, one moment dying, and another bringing life to me. I open my eyes. They stare.

I wonder if my blank look gives my pain away. But I doubt it, for if they see the agony, why don't they offer respite? I am tearing up again, but on the inside, so no one can see. I am yelling now. I am in pain and the only way to endure it is by holding on to the bench I am now sitting on.

She sits there in silence, there, in the mad centre of this crazy city. Her body still, she stares, giving nothing and taking nothing.

I look at her in disgust and walk away.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Daddy's little girl

Everyone has always told me I resemble my father and my sister is a “photocopy” of my mother. This has always been a put-off. I resemble a man, how is that a compliment? But the aunties would reply, “But your father’s a good looking man”, as if that makes it better!

So, ever since I was born, I have been this hairy little girl with apparently a manly face, with my father’s stubby fingers, and his thin lips, fortunately minus the moustache. Supposedly, a physical reflection of my dad, my sister is the one who has really taken after him. When my dad’s not around, she is truly the man of the house.

My external beauty is a birthday gift from dad, but my inner beauty comes from mom all the way.

I have loved my dad for as long as I can remember. I loved him, for all daughters love their fathers. There wasn’t much of an argument about it really, we love each other because that’s how the Gods intended it to be. He looked like the legendary actor Dharmendra when he was younger, but I am pretty sure I would have loved him had he looked like the legendary villain Pran. He could look like Sunil Shetty for all I care! He’s my dad and I love him. Period.

We have some wonderful memories together, we are family, you know, and families always make for wonderful memories. I have lived for twenty one years now and I have seen many faces of my father. In his one life, I often feel my dad has lived many. He’s the cat with nine lives.

In retrospect, I wouldn’t expect anything less eventful from him. He has always been the adventurous kind, never doing things the traditional way. I get that from him I guess. He is quite the traveller, a gypsy of sorts. And so his life has been one journey after another. He has conquered many mountains only to find himself tumbling down and then climbing up again. I have rarely seen him fear the unpredictable terrain life has to offer. Every day is a winding road and the destination is rarely insight, but his book of life surely reads character.

He has never been a traditional father. I don’t remember him telling us to study ever, in fact he would try his best to deter us from anything academic. They definitely had my dad in mind when they coined the phrase ‘daddy cool’ because he is, he is as cool as they get.

In August 2005, he was diagnosed with cancer. What followed was an endless series of hospital visits. He went into surgery on August 5 and came out with one lung less. I was in school the day of the surgery and I remember the day well, because I was singing a solo for the first time on stage. I don’t think I was very nervous about the song or the result, what I feared was what would follow.

My dad was fine after surgery, weak, yes, but he was a big man, and one operation wasn’t enough to take him down. The hospital was flooded with familiar faces that day. All well-wishers, taking responsibility for papers, finances and what not. It didn’t make much sense to me, to be very honest.

He’s a born entertainer, my dad. He might have lost a lung, but his will to amuse was very much there, and so was an audience of sympathizers. Every detail of the surgery was narrated to the listeners sat wrapt. They laughed when he did and wept when he told them to. The man was meant to be an actor...and just when you thought it was over, there would be an encore.

Few weeks after surgery dad was taken for his first chemotherapy. That was the real test. Within weeks he shed 30 kgs. The strongest man in the world for me, was now barely a skeleton. Chemo had hit him bad. He wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t sleep at night and the side effects of chemo had taken a real toll on him. What was to be a cycle of six sessions, was stopped at four, for his body just couldn’t take it. Dad had always been a big man and seeing him like this was as good as seeing someone else.

Fewer visitors would now come to see him. Reasons varied, some, I figured, couldn’t bear to see him like that, others came to be entertained and got nothing, so stopped coming and still others got busy with their own lives. But this had become our life. This had become my father’s life. A perpetual struggle for survival. A constant battle with pain. While we watched him suffer, writhing in agony, begging god for mercy.

Certain days were particularly painful to witness. Chemo combined with his migraines used to take a heavy toll on him. It appeared to be a kind of a ‘cruciatis’ curse, from Harry Potter. He spent nights on end making a plea bargain with god, while all we could do was pray.

But he bounced back soon enough. In 2007, dad was cancer free and working, the only year that has happened since the disease was diagnosed. With one lung less and a head sans hair, he devoured the streets of Chandni Chowk for my sister’s wedding preparations and got her married in 2009. I kid you not, my father was the most handsome man at the wedding. The wedding was one that will be remembered for years to come and he made sure all my sister’s wishes were granted. With that, he successfully inaugurated a new chapter in the book of the Puri’s.

Tragedy struck again. Soon after the wedding dad’s cancer returned, this time in his spine. The dreaded chemo began again, but the rockstar that he is, dad sailed through the sessions. Between 2005 and 2010, he has undergone a total of 36 chemotherapy sessions. Mention that to him, and he’d probably joke about it.

Dad is five feet-eight-inches tall, has one lung and so an uneven shoulder alignment, barely any hair on his head, but a healthy moustache. He smiles every time he sees me and his eyes sparkle every time he sees butterscotch ice cream. He is now fighting brain cancer. He is in a daze often and is unable to walk at the moment. Something in him never lets him give up and every time he sees me, I know what it is. My heart sings with joy on days when he sends me a flying kiss and sinks when he doesn’t remember my name. He fights with us because we feed him. He fights this disease because we love him. I could just say my dad’s a fighter, but that won’t be enough.

He is a father.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I am Ajmal Kasab and I plead guilty

Inside the mind of a terrorist

Ajmal Kasab was born on July 13, 1987 in Faridkot, a village in Pakistan. Kasab, was born on November 26, 2008 in Mumbai.

While the country watched in helpless horror, Kasab and others indiscriminately fired at civilians in Mumbai. He became the lone terrorist captured by the Mumbai police after the massacre. The media repeatedly flashed a photograph taken by a Mumbaikar. Overnight, Kasab became the face of terror.

Ten terrorists opened fire at Hotel Trident-Oberoi, Hotel Taj Mahal, Nariman House, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital and Metro Cinema Junction. They also planted bombs in two taxis which exploded killing people.

He looked painfully young to be holding a weapon. His smile gave away the charade of innocence on his youthful face. He was a boy with a gun, a man on a mission and the devil, no longer in disguise. And I often thought that the mind of a terrorist must be a dungeon of distress, dark and dingy.

May 6, 2010 saw a momentous judgment. The death sentence was awarded to Kasab who had been pronounced guilty for waging war against the State a few days earlier.

Voldemort. That’s the first name that comes to mind when I try to understand the mind of Ajmal Kasab. If you are a Harry Potter fan, you would understand. A misguided boy, handed a weapon of power. Tom Riddle had his wand, and Kasab, an AK-47, a violent mind and a numb conscience. Truth stranger than fiction?

He was 21 when he brutally shot over 60 people in Mumbai. Kasab was held at a specially-made bullet and bomb-proof cell in the high-security Arthur Road central prison. Since the trial began, 200 troops of Indo-Tibetan Border Police guarded him round-the-clock. Kasab’s statements since then have lacked consistency as he has continually changed his stand. In February, 2009, he confessed to being guilty and retracted his statement soon after. Occasionally, he giggled and then wept. On a later date in court he brokedown and pleaded that he be punished for what he had done.

His former lawyer, Anjali Waghmare said of her first encounter with the boy that she saw innocence on his face, a clueless-ness as if wondering why he was being questioned and interrogated. They say a man’s eyes are the windows to his soul. I wonder what one would see in Kasab’s eyes. Remorse? Guilt? Perhaps one would see the images of all those he had shot that night, playing in his mind like a film reel. I wonder if he smiled at himself when no one was watching.

Ajmal Kasab knew he had changed the lives of millions forever, on 26/11 and thereafter.

Ujjwal Nikam took great pride in the court’s judgment as he flashed the victory sign to the media while delivering his statement on the verdict. He went on to say that Kasab cried nothing but crocodile tears, he was smart and knew exactly what he was doing.

Or did he?

In a white kurta pyjama, he heard those fateful words. Words, had changed his life forever few years ago, when he decided to take up arms. He was ready to kill. And so he did. Here he was today, listening to the last most important words of his life. There was a day called November 26 which he didn’t quite remember but it changed his life forever. Today was the second such day of his life.

Death sentence on five counts, life sentence on five counts.

Tears trickled down his face. This was it. He wasn’t going down as a martyr, not a man dying for a cause, but a terrorist. This wasn’t the life he had imagined for himself, and now it was too late. The face of his mother flashed in front of his eyes and he wept some more. He saw the angry faces of a billion people and he could feel the air being sucked out of his lungs. And then he saw the face of 11-year-old Devika, whose leg he had wounded that night, and instantly his own young face flashed in front of him.

Ajmal Kasab had become the face of terror. His name would read hatred in the pages of history books. But the little boy he saw, was innocent.

He never told anyone what he dreamt of everyday. Did nobody notice he woke up in the night screaming? He would soon join those who died in that night, not as a perpetrator of terror but as a victim, a boy who had fallen prey to the perils of ignorance.

Whenever that fateful day is upon me, he says, when I walk to the gallows, they will witness, not a man who committed shameful crimes, but a boy with shining bright eyes as if waiting to welcome a better world, a second chance. And when they ask me if I am scared of death, I will say, no, I am scared to be alive.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Rivers and Rapids

As a child I had been forced to attend certain classes, which were conducted in a language I didn’t quite understand. I was told, it was the language of the gods. In balavihar, I soon understood what the Gods were trying to tell me in Sanskrit. Being a CHYK, or a member of the Chinmaya Yuva Kendra, helped me further unfold this secret message from the Gods. I realised He spoke in many languages, if only we could make ourselves available to His message. Through CHYK classes and camps, I was exposed to the study of a different kind of science, the science of life. My recent experience at the Youth Empowerment Programme, felt truly empowering and has cultivated in me a sense of direction, a zest to strive for perfection and overcome my limitations. Perhaps the greatest gift that CHYK has given me, is to plant in me a sense of gratitude, towards my nation and my culture and a platform to give back, through service.

Man is intriguing, all around us, we try to conquer nature, try to be one up on everything external, but when it comes to us, say an emotional problem or a personal crisis, we fall, unable to row ourselves out of the rapids that life offers us. And yet, we conquer the seas and the oceans and the rivers, we play with fire, toy with nature’s bounties, believing in our absoluteness, in our invincibility.

Somewhere, we lose faith in ourselves, our abilities. And that faith is rekindled when we are tested, we see how it is born out of us, effortlessly through some innate power that drives us. The experience of white water river rafting does just this, by giving us an opportunity to act zealously, live courageously, and reflect thoroughly.

Dear Diary,

Today I saw the river in its most playful mode. It was truly exciting. As part of a Chinmaya Yuva Kendra camp in Uttarkashi, I went rafting in the holy Ganges. It was as holy as it had been the day before (when we took holy dips at Gangotri), but much less fierce (in terms of its temperature), much more friendly and youthful. I realised God spoke in many languages. He spoke to us through the trees and the nature, through this Mighty River and through our experience on the raft. We could hear him, if only we could make ourselves available to His message. Being a CHYK, helped me further unfold this secret message from God. CHYK, through its camps facilitated learning in a unique way, known as ‘outdoor experiential learning’, through rafting and other such activities, and what a learning it was.

The day began early. We reached the sandy beach and were split into groups of six, given our life jackets, and introduced to our guide. The guide carried out his duties well, and most importantly, he told us our rafting jingle! We were all enthused and prepared to take on the mighty river! As I stood on the shore, waiting for our turn, I realized the irony of the situation. We were looking forward to facing rapids. I smiled to myself and I thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we faced life with the same enthusiasm? Wouldn’t it be the right attitude to face the rapids in our lives as a challenge, as a thrill? What a Sport life would become, a game, a beautiful journey.

Being the last group to go, we saw the others in action. They were being told when to row, how to sit, and to be quite honest, it looked and sounded a little complicated. The guides seemed pretty tough, let me just say this was no vacation cruise on a fancy yacht.

All geared up and slightly unnerved, we pushed our raft into the river, and I took the place I was assigned. All six of us were told which direction to row in, how to sit, when to row and the speed and effort at which we were to row. And then it was the guide’s time to shine. As we chartered unknown waters I thought to myself, “This is it, from this moment on, Mr. Guide, you are my God and my life is in your hands.” With a quick prayer, I paid attention to each and every instruction we were given. The first thing he said was that now we were to act like a team, we must keep rowing at all times and that every member of the team must play his or her part, irrespective of what position they have been given. Now I have to admit, at some point I must have got distracted by the beauty of the river and the excitement of finally being in the water, but if one is to do river rafting, one should pay attention to the instructions.

So the journey began, we were one on one with the river. Through her we ran, holding our oars tight and making our way through. Each oar gave the raft a direction and our instructor led us through the waters of the mighty Ganges. It was his correct guidance that channelized our strength to row properly when the rapids came. The first rapid was the hardest, I guess because I wasn’t sure of what to do, moreover, I wasn’t sure I could do it. It was an intense moment. The leader was shouting instructions at us all, “Row faster! Right hand row backwards! Keep rowing!”, and I’m thinking, “Why don’t you do it! You are a professional!” But Voila! We made it through! It’s a great feeling, that. A strange feeling of accomplishment, to do something for the first time and to do it well.

Crossing the first rapid called for a celebration, obviously. The leader told us all to lift our oars up in the air in a huddle and along with it, we sang our victory jingle! “Go baby, go baby, Go Baby!” and once again, we were highly energised to face our next rapid, as a team.

As we went along, one of the rapids was truly challenging for me. I think it was towards the end. My arms were tired of rowing, and this rapid was either particularly strong or I was weary or both. The force of the water was strong. It was splashing both inside and outside the raft. We all were drenched and I slipped out of position and fell inside the raft. I had almost given up on the rowing, I was tired and to be honest, I didn’t think they would miss me much. The others were strong and were handling it just fine. Just then, the instructor looked at me and yelled in a most rude manner, “Row, Now!” I was taken aback, but I resumed my post and did what I was told. Dear diary, I can never forget that man yelling at me and asking me to row. There is no room to feel sorry for yourself when you are headed towards your goal. It is not about you. Your duties are your own and must be done. In a team each must perform to his potential, only then can the team overcome rapids and swim towards the goal. Contrary to what we were told in school and our workplaces, in life you are indispensible. Life is indispensible. That one line has taught me so much. How easily we make things about us, not being sensitive to our family, friends and co-workers. At the end of the day, a team can perform well, and a balance can be maintained when all the team members do their duty well. If harmony is to be maintained, duties must be performed at all times.

Lord Krishna says to Arjuna in the third chapter of the Bhagwad Geeta, “Yoga of Action”,

Niyatam kuru karma tvam karma jyayo hy akarmanah

Sarira yatrapi ca ten a prasiddhyed akarmanah. Ch 3, 8.

Perform your obligatory duty, because action is indeed better than inaction.
Even the maintenance of your body would not be possible by inaction.

Wherever we are in our lives, we have been stationed for a purpose, why not explore our potential and live our purpose.

We reached the shore after fighting some more rapids and occasionally jumping into the river where it was calm. At one place our guide told us to jump off the raft and it was toppled over. It was thoroughly exciting. All of us worked together to turn the raft over and pulled each other back into the rafts, right before another rapid waited to greet us.

We were tired when we reached but exhilarated. One cannot say what we enjoyed more, the rapids or the occasional swim, and I would have to say both, as it all culminated into a grand experience. While we rowed through the last stretch, it wasn’t the destination that we looked forward to, we rowed because that’s what we had to do. The Bhagwat Geeta also teaches us not to be driven by the end product, rather enjoy the process of getting there. We rowed because we must. The enjoyment of the process, the experience of getting there is more important than the end result. So, we must perform our actions and carry out our duties efficiently rather than worrying about the results. The journey is what made the entire experience exciting, not the destination.

My reflections on what the rapids taught me!

Have the right perspective: A slight change in the way we look at things, can change everything. It is really up to us whether we see a situation as a crisis or as an opportunity to grow and learn. Albus Dumbledore says to Harry Potter, “It is our choices that make us truly who we are, far more than our abilities.” Choosing the right attitude, builds character.

Be Bold: When the sea of life faces a storm, be bold and stand your ground. We might be surprised to see what we are made of. Let us understand that every rapid that comes to us, makes us stronger.

Play your part, and play it well: At all times, we must perform our duties. Living our dharma is the only way to maintain a harmonious balance between the individual and society, lest the raft of life, topple over.

Be one with the moment: Let us not fall prey to worry and anticipation. Live in this moment, “Let your mind be where your hands are”, Gurudev says. Enjoy both, calm waters and rapids equally, for it is all part of the experience. Remember, the journey is more important than the destination.

Faith: Virtually all tasks are possible with this key ingredient. Have faith, in yourself, in your team and most of all in God. He will guide you to your destination, provided you are willing to row the boat. There is a much larger plan, and you are a part of it.

A pen, paper and a back-pack

Some of us, rather most of us are waiting to find a job that pays us to do what we love. It is rather rare, but it does happen.

There is one thing common between travelling and writing: they both require a sort of free spiritedness. Most great people, saints and other learned men, travelled extensively and wrote with great fervour about their travels. On reading such a book of experiences, what comes through is not an itinerary of their travels, but something much more subtle: A glimpse into the soul of the writer and into the places visited.

Here’s welcoming you to the never static, ever-dynamic journey that is the life of a travel writer.

Travel literature today is much more commercially viable than it perhaps was just a decade ago as tourism reaches new heights. People are going places, and writers are telling people where to go.

However, the art of travel writing is more spiritual than anything else. A writer can bring in a third dimension depending on his ability to capture the pulse of the space he is in, whether it is a five star hotel or a village hut, the travel writer is first a traveller, ever ready to explore.

The three-fold mantra:


You don’t need to save money to take a trip to a resort in Singapore or a haveli in Udaipur to be inspired to write. Start simple, perhaps a trip to a local monument or a nearby town. Remember, travelling and writing have much to do with exploration within and without. While exploring a place, its nooks and corners, conversing with the locals, is an ideal way to capture its pulse, writing requires a different kind of exploration, a journey within. A good travel write up is thus, a perfect balance between exploration and introspection.

Travel is not just the movement of the body but also of the soul. Simply put, a travel journalist must take all he can from the outside, mix it with what’s on the inside to produce something extraordinary.

Words of caution: All tourists are not travellers, all travellers are not tourists.

"A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving." - Lao Tzu


Research always makes for good writing. But if I wanted just information, I would google it and toss your write up in the bin.

While research can get you only so far, a unique style of writing can get you further. Add to that a unique perspective and you’ve got an article with personality.

A good write up is not only informative but should also have the ingredients to inspire the reader to travel.

Point to remember: It’s not the place that makes a man, but the man who makes the place.


There is good and then there is great. An extraordinary article is made of not three but four dimensions, one which comes only with experience and exposure. Fortunately, a travel writer’s job is all about exposure.

A person who has an adventurous spirit and a polite independence is born to travel. Blend it with a passion for writing and you’ve got a travel writer good to go. An experienced traveller has that extra zing in his writing, which makes for a write up hard to forget.

Few words of wisdom: A seasoned traveller finds the excitement in the journey, not just the destination.

Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself.

Institutes offering a course in travel writing:
The college of the world

Qualifications required:
A mandatory degree in free-spirited-ness
Must own or (have the ability to borrow) a bagpack
A sturdy pair of walking shoes
And a flair for writing

When and where can you start:
Here and Now.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hope floats

My father is a good man.

He has led a long and tiresome life, much of a it a roller coaster ride, but over all, he has been good. Whatever little I know of his past, for I wish not to probe, I see he has gone through a lot and has become a man commanding great respect. He has wronged though, but then again, who hasn't.

I, for one, feel immense provide of having come from him. For whatever my father is, if I am even an iota of that, I shall feel satisfied. Though I shall pray to the Lord I so believe in, I hope He may not give me suffering as he has to him. But hasn't He made a man of great character? Of immense spirit? One cannot argue.

My mother, she's one of a kind.

Words fail me, for like the great saints say, the Truth is indescribable, and can only be sought through indicators. My mother is a woman of great substance. A tall tower of strength. It often amazes me how so much can be packaged in a petite silhouette.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Just because I'm a writer...doesn't mean I'm lost. We all are.

People should take pride in their miseries. The shit you go through in life has a lot to do with what you become.

Everyday I feel like I am losing a part of me, and finding this whole new person inside me. Then, there are days when I miss me, and again there are days when I wake up and I feel like I have been sleeping for a long time...Like I have been living a dream. Not in a good way or a bad way, nothing cynical about it, just when you look back and you feel like you have been living like someone else...Doesn't make much sense, I know. But then if it did, this blog would have been called "".

Chris Martin of Coldplay has a way with words. He says in his song 'Lost', "Just because I'm losing, doesn't mean I'm lost...You might be a big fish in a little pond, doesn't mean you've won 'cuz along will come a bigger one...and you'll be lost..."

Take a minute to take this all in.



What a journey it is, this life...of triumphs and failures. And in the end, all is lost. Nothing matters, except who you have become. If we would only realize the race is not amongst us. In the end we are all nothing but lost. Ha ha! The medals, the triumphs, the failures, all amount to a big zero! What are we arguing about?

Acceptance is key. And it's right there inside us. But that too, is lost.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Who are you?

I am the kinda gal who sees things for what they are. Most of the time. I work at it very consciously, but of course, there are times when I find it difficult to keep the third person perspective on things.

In spirituality they say, we should learn to move away from our likes and dislikes and start 'witnessing' situations, people and life as objects. This is a subtle concept. The idea behind it is basically to slowly become less attached to people and things. Again, a very misunderstood idea.

Attachment causes pain. Attachment means expectations. Expectations means disappointment, means hurt, means anger so on and so forth. They are subtle concepts, hard to practice, very easy to preach. Lifetimes are spent in this attempt to overcome attachment.

At a much simpler level, if we just observe people, or ourselves, we will see that a person who has more likes and dislikes, will experience more pain and disappointment. I guess, that is why all spiritual people, all religions talk about 'contentment'.

Freedom from likes and dislikes makes us freer. Like a vagabond living beside a lake, with the clouds as his blanket and the milkyway as his night light.

One last thought, as babies, I don't think we have any likes and dislikes as such. Remember, how experimental you were as a 2-year-old? Hey, let's play this and let's break that! And let's try putting our finger in the socket!

How much of us is conditioning?

And when they ask us to write, "About you" in those social networking websites, what do we end up writing...Name, qualification, interests...some we are born with, but most of these answers have already be given to us...

Let us try and probe further.

So tell me, "about yourself". Who are you? And I don't want to know what you do, or where you live or what you like. Let's hear it then.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Crossing the bridge

I am at that crossroads in my life. It's no big deal, everyone goes through it, and they come out of it alive, I know all that, but it's a different thing when it happens to you. You see, I am this college girl who has started going to office. You see?

I feel like such a kid. It is hard enough for me to digest that this is now my life for the rest of my life, to top that, I have to adjust to being treated like the little bug who gets eaten by the bigger bug who is stepped on by the giant human. "You are the lowest in the rung", thats what my HR guy told me in my "orientation". What an ass. I guess, we all have to start there, so I'll learn to live with it.

There is no pampering in office. No Mr Nice guy, no saviour, nothing. It's just you and a whole lot of work. Most of the times I feel lost. Oh how I hate that feeling of being absolutely out-of-place. I miss my google days. They treated us like kings and queens during our internship there. *Sigh*

But college was great. Now I realize why all grownups miss college and school days. Absolutely no responsibilities. Noone to answer to, no money to earn, no work to do, noone can fire you from school and jeopardize your entire career (they can, but they won't). But in office, the first chance they get to squeal on you, they'll take.

Bitter-suite it is actually. It's kind of empowering to be making money and not asking your parents. I love being accountable for something actually, it makes me feel important.

Wow, sounds like I am working for all the wrong reasons.

Hard to digest, truths about myself

So, I promise this one's going to be a light read. Except that it won't and you shouldn't hope for it either.

I have been thinking. Many things. I have been hearing words, eavesdropping on conversations, deciphering song lyrics, analyzing advice and there's a lot going on. Within and without.

My boss today tells me I have a way with words, and I have a promising future as a journalist. This after she told me I need to pull up my socks and perform "up to the mark". Don't get me wrong, she was write in telling me to perform better, I have been goofing up quite a bit, what with it being my first job, I am still struggling with the place and the pace of it all.

I was pretty shattered when she gave me a reality check on the phone. I don't do well with criticism, and I don't know what to do when I know I am trying so hard to perform. It's tough being told "You're not doing it right." when all you really are trying to do, is to do it right! I doubt my abilities in such situations, it's not just a casual experience for me.

I have developed this strange passion for excellence lately. And this love for my career. This strong feeling of direction and dedication. I haven't ever felt it this way before, and so, after trying and feeling, it's kind of disheartening being told what I was told today.

But I guess she made up for it, by telling me she saw me as a promising writer. But I doubt she really felt it. I don't know. All I know is, I got to keep at it. I have never wanted to be something like I want to these days, which is pretty awesome in itself.

So then it got me thinking about "words", and what it means when someone says you have a "way with words". It could mean you know what to say when, but I don't think that's what my boss meant.

For me, writing is all about expression. A good piece of writing, comes from a person with substance. This brings me to the song lyric bit I mentioned earlier. I have re-discovered Coldplay. Their not so new album, "Viva la Vida and Death and all it friends" is quite beautiful. A unique combination of music and lyrics, phenomenal stuff. Though whatever songs I have heard their lyrics are quite contextual, but I still wonder where they came from. I mean, it's easy to write stories, okay not "easy", but what I mean is, storytelling is one thing, you know, one thing leads to another, its more sequential. I like the way their songs are so open to interpretation. A line could be understood independent of the entire song and it would still make sense. That's why I say good writing comes from substance, or a deep understanding, an intense feeling and just the right words.

Such people are rare, whose writings touch your heart. Who say the right words to convey a feeling which all of us feel, but say it in such an ordinary manner. I think that's what leaves me spellbound about Richard Bach's writing. He says the simplest things, in the simplest way, and yet, not in a way you and I can express. Good writing requires a whole lot of reflection and self analysis. You have to take an experience, a feeling, make it yours, feel it completely, deeply and then express it.

I don't quite remember why or when I started writing. I took to it in school, in creative writing competitions. Only when I won one of those competitions I felt I could write and people actually could comprehend what I wrote. It was more about my ideas that time. My creative world of ideas that I could weave into a story. But as I grow, I find myself fascinated with the idea of words. A good writer can express reality in words of fantasy. As my good "friend" Joey says, "It's not what you say, but how you say it."

Am still thinking.

More on this later.